Ryne Oshiro, Staff Writer
Following the completion of the longest National Basketball Association (NBA) season in history, the Los Angeles Lakers came out victorious. The season ended on Oct. 12th, 2020, after nearly 355 days since the first regular season game. Of course, this season will be forever regarded as the asterisk season as many different variables changed the way the season played out. The final regular season and playoff games were constructed in a bubble and the rest is history. Yet, where does the NBA go from here?
While the delay in the season brought many new setbacks, such as the date of the NBA draft being pushed to Nov. 18, the NBA still has a lot of conflicts on their plate. There were rumors circulating on ESPN, that eventually led to an approval by the NBA Players Association to start the next season on Dec. 22, 2020. This means players will have the shortest off-season in professional sports history. This leads to a sped-up edition of the free agent market, trade season, and rumors of the upcoming draft. It is no surprise that ratings for the NBA had taken a fall and this new agreement to start next month only further shows just how much of a point the NBA is trying to make in a sort of comeback fashion.
Christmas day games are a staple of the NBA as families gather around the television to watch the likes of Steph Curry, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant put on a show during the holiday season. With COVID-19 still looming in the air, the NBA will rely heavily on the attention of the audience as a way of establishing their place back in the professional sports world.
The free agent market is set to have numerous options for teams who need the extra push in the upcoming playoffs, of course the biggest name on the board is Anthony Davis who seems like a shoe-in to sign back with the Lakers. Behind Davis is breakout star, Brandon Ingram, who saw a mediocre career in LA blossom into a star player in New Orleans. Fred VanVleet and Danilo Gallinari are both unrestricted free agents set to hit the market, both would make great additions to teams in need of a certain position. VanVleet is arguably one of the top point guards in the league and will probably get an offer from the Toronto Raptors to come back for seasons to come.
On the other hand, Gallinari, a stretch forward, stated publicly that he would rather play on a playoff contention team than sign a big contract. This is a big deal for teams looking to budget salary and still build a team worthy of a championship.
Other notable unrestricted free agents include Sixth Man of the Year, Montrezl Harrell of the Los Angeles Clippers, Jerami Grant of the Denver Nuggets, sharpshooter Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets, and even former all-star turned savvy veteran Carmelo Anthony. With all that is up in the air, the short off-season looks to be one of the most interesting as things start to ramp up.